Happy hour in Asia as global booze makers eye deals

PHOTO: Happy hour in Asia as global booze makers eye deals

MUMBAI - The biggest global alcohol companies are sizing up buyout and tie-up opportunities in China, India, South Korea and Vietnam, keen to profit from a $258 billion(S$6 billion) Asian market that is growing twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Banking and industry sources name Hong Kong-listed Kingway Brewery Holdings, China's Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co Ltd, India's Tilaknagar Industries, and KKR & Co-backed South Korean Oriental Brewery among the potential takeover or joint venture targets for global brewers.

Like many other sectors, the global drinks industry is stepping up its Asian presence to offset sluggish growth at home.

"Everybody wants a slice of Asia," said Deepa D'Souza, a consultant with global market research firm Mintel in Mumbai.

"The global companies who are present there want to expand further and further in markets like China," she added. "The problem is there are not enough suitable assets available and so there is a race to pick up whatever is around and there will be more of the takeover battles we are seeing now."